Thursday, September 22, 2016

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

There were eight stabbing attacks by Arabs against Jews in the last four days (as of Tuesday).

News item:

Speaking to students of Palestinian origin in Venezuela, Abbas explained that incitement was not behind the decision to carry out attacks, "rather, they [young Palestinians] have lost hope."

He added that he is prepared to return to the negotiation table if Israel halts settlement construction and releases additional prisoners. Abbas went on to say that the Palestinians would not compromise on the right of return, stressing that 6 million Palestinian refugees were waiting to come home.

So this is what we are dealing with. We are in the midst of a war between peoples, a war different from most wars, where there may be various objectives like control of resources or access to transport or markets, expansion of empires, and countless others. Here there is only one simple objective: our enemies want to end our state and kill or disperse our people, while we want to survive as a sovereign state.

There aren’t many modern examples of wars between peoples, other than the wars of Israel (perhaps the 1971 Bangladesh War is one). The wars of 1948, 1967 and the ongoing Palestinian War all fit this description. The major world wars, although they may have been associated with genocides, did not have genocide as their major objective. The American Civil War and the Korean and Vietnam wars were fought for political control, but not to replace one people with another.

When WWII ended, the Allies received unconditional surrender from their enemies and occupied their lands temporarily, in order to ensure that the previous leaders and ideology would not return. Despite the horrendous violence during the war, there was no attempt to kill or disperse the Japanese or German people. Some territory changed hands, a few individuals who were judged to be guilty of war crimes were punished, and new political structures set up. But the victors did not kill, deport or enslave the vanquished populations en masse

The Palestinians are a people, a people that was created in very recent times and one that was created as the negation of another people, but despite all that, still a people. They will not go back to being Egyptians or Syrians or Jordanians as most of them would have called themselves just a few years ago. And the thing that unifies them, the main ideological principle that makes them not just Arabs but Palestinian is that they want our land, all of it, and they want us gone one way or another. That is the overriding national goal to which all the rest – economics, politics, culture, education, technology, sport – every human enterprise in which they participate – is subordinated.

I am not going to go into why they are wrong and how they got where they are or who did what to whom. I am satisfied with our moral position as Zionists. I accept the challenge of my left-wing friends who always say that they don’t want to talk about history, they want to know how to fix the situation today. Fine, let’s discuss that.

For the purpose of this discussion, it’s enough to understand that the Palestinians are our enemy in a war between peoples, like the biblical people of Israel and Amalek. Today, they have taken up the banner of Amalek. They have defined themselves as the archenemy of the Jewish people.

Have the Jews forgotten Amalek? It seems so. You can’t compromise with such an enemy because the question at issue is whether or not your people will continue to exist. He says no, you say yes. There is no common ground: the logical intersection of what he wants and what you can accept is empty. The only law that provides an answer is the Law of the Jungle.

One of the favorite plans of those who have forgotten Amalek is to divide the land. “Then they will have their own country and they will live peacefully alongside us.” But why would they, when their goal is not to live peacefully with us, but to end our existence? Dividing the land (especially given the geography of the Middle East) just makes it easier for them. Have they ever done anything with land they control than use it to make war on us? Dividing the land is the most irrational thing we could do!

If you succeed in driving Amalek out of your land, you don’t let him come back because he promises to consider living at peace with you. Of course he lies – he wants to kill you, why do you expect him to tell you the truth? You don’t sign papers or shake hands with him. You crush him.

It isn’t true that peace is made between enemies, as Rabin famously said. It is made between former enemies, when one is beaten so badly that he prefers unconditional surrender to death. If you want peace, plan to be the winner, the overwhelming winner, or it will not be the kind of peace you want.

Amalek is someone who tries to kill you however he can. He is not someone to whom you give a “political horizon.” He is not someone whose economy you try to improve, or to whom you sell electricity or water. He is not someone that you provide with food and medicines. If you take prisoners – and the fewer you take, the better – you don’t free them so they can fight again. You certainly don’t provide medical treatment for the relatives of his leaders. And above all, you don’t abandon the land and expel your own people from it.

Is it immoral to blockade civilians? What if they support the fighters? Unfortunately, this is part of war. Never forget that Amalek started the war and could choose to end it. Remember what his objective is and what ours is. Is it immoral to shoot a wounded prisoner? What if he tried to kill you and will try again if he recovers? It isn’t moral to be merciful to Amalek. It doesn’t make you a better person. It isn’t going to make him like you and it gives him another chance to kill you. 


Our war is special. Today’s Palestinian War (we could call it a continuation of the Oslo War as well, a name given to the Second Intifada), is a war between peoples where one side exists as a people only as an antithesis to the other. And this, in a nutshell, is why there is no compromise solution. A compromise would require that the Palestinians, as a nation, had other interests, other areas in which they could gain while giving up their hope of getting rid of us. But they don’t. Amalek is all they are.

Therefore, there is only one way to end the conflict, and it is for one side to be victorious over the other. May it be us.

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